Marketing during the COVID-19 crisis

Do more on pc screen

In the world of digital marketing, the last couple of weeks has seen us react quickly to support clients with advice to ongoing and future campaigns, rescheduling, cancellations, making changes to websites, updating opening times and delivery information. On social media, we have responded to the demands of clients preparing their businesses for when a kind of normality returns. 

COVID-19 is certainly shaping consumer behaviour, the customer journey and many are turning to phones and personal contact to get the information they need quickly and precisely.

Certain businesses have seen an increase in demand from the obvious; hospitals, telehealth, subscriptions to online services and care, but spin-offs have included more demand for self-storage, pest control, financial services, senior living and mattresses. We assume the latter is because younger family members are living-in to help others.

Across the board, the search volume for COVID-19 has risen exponentially and will have an impact on your brand. Our suggestions, therefore, are try to position your brand as a helper and work on strategies with your blog posts, your social media and your PPC.

Many businesses are pulling back from PPC to SEO and content marketing. If you are aware of your Google Analytics stats, your insights to organic Search can be improved and used to tap into your customers’ behaviour.

Here are some interesting stats from US data company Dialogtech showing the current difference between Organic and Paid Search with regard to phone enquiries.

What else could you be doing? 

Give out a clear message

If you have a retail store which has had to close because you’re not an essential business, then explain why and let your clients know that you hope to be soon open again. 

Perhaps you have a shop that has had to change your opening hours because of staff shortages or problems with supply. Share your news as well as local content and be empathetic with others.

On what channels can people find information about your business?

The most important are: your website, Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked-In, Trip-Advisor and Bing.

Make sure your brand messages are consistent as this will enhance your SEO

Check out where people are visiting your website from – it’s all there on Google Analytics.

Let your customers know you are working and open for business. If not now, then prepare from when you will re-open and how you will manage social distancing in your shop or business. 

Remember to post those opening hours and updates on social media. Add a banner or a pop-up but make sure it’s only on the home page and doesn’t distract visitors by appearing on every page they visit. 

If you have reduced staff, let your customers know by adding an extra line on your contact form by saying your response times may not be as quick as usual. 

Change Google My Business and Facebook business hours

With any business hours changes, follow those through on Google My Business (GMB) and Facebook pages. Use Google’s COVID-19 update options which will preview on your profile and, if your business is temporarily closed, you can mark it as ‘temporarily closed’ on GMB.

If you have put a plan in place to direct people around your premises to adhere to social distancing, why not talk people through it and show them with a video? Give them the reassurance they need to come back into the shop or business premises. 

Google Reviews and the ability to edit names on GMB have currently been suspended. The Q&A section has also been temporarily removed due to the crisis.

Don’t forget to use Facebook. Chat is up around 50%, and people are spending a lot of time on Facebook while working remotely. Creating content and reposting helpful content could be seen as a real benefit to your business. 

Brand building and awareness

Don’t sit back during the crisis, show everyone you have resources and your business is in good health so that when the time comes, you can return to normal. 

You may well find you have new customers, have benefited from the additional exposure, have built some brand advocates and have sent out your brand messages and maximised exposure. Use webinars, giveaways, learn a new skill, participate in podcasts, host a digital summit or be a speaker and create some digital content so you can hit the ground running when the need returns.